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1 Moroccan Arabic Consonant Harmony Georgia Weissman Stony Brook University CUNY Phonology Forum Conference on Precedence Relations January 25, 2007.

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Presentation on theme: "1 Moroccan Arabic Consonant Harmony Georgia Weissman Stony Brook University CUNY Phonology Forum Conference on Precedence Relations January 25, 2007."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 Moroccan Arabic Consonant Harmony Georgia Weissman Stony Brook University CUNY Phonology Forum Conference on Precedence Relations January 25, 2007

2 2 Outline I. The Data Restrictions II. Functional Explanations Consonant Harmony OCP and Language Processing III. Root and Template OCP in Moroccan Arabic Root and Template in Moroccan Arabic IV. Conclusions and Implications Further Issues

3 3 The Data (1) ConservativeInnovative a./zuž/ /žuž/two b. /sžen/ /šžen/prison c. /ser ̣ žem/ /šer ̣ žem/window d. /mzuwwež/ /mžuwwež/married e. /nsež//nšež/to weave f. /sfenž//šfenž/doughnut g. /zlžlan/ /žlžlan/sesame seeds h. /zelliž//želliž/tiles i. /s ̣ feržel//šferžel/quince tree j. /sent ̣ r ̣ ež/ /šent ̣ r ̣ ež/ chess

4 4 The Data (cont) 1a. /zuž/ ~/žuž/two 1b. /sžen/ ~/šžen/prison 1c. /ser ̣ žem/ ~/šer ̣ žem/window Moroccan Arabic (MA) displays an innovative long-distance consonant harmony process. Words occurring with harmonized consonants alternate with conservative, non-harmonizing forms. However, the innovative alternations, with the harmonized consonants, are preferred and occur more frequently than the conservative forms.

5 5 The Data (cont) 1d. /mzuwwež/ ~/mžuwwež/married 1e. /nsež/~/nšež/to weave 1f. /sfenž/~/šfenž/doughnut The consonant harmony occurs regressively between coronal sibilants of a stem. These consonants undergo agreement of the [+distributive] feature, converting the place of anterior alveolar fricatives to post-alveolar. The trigger is always the voiced post-alveolar fricative [ž] and acts on a preceding voiced or voiceless anterior alveolar fricative [s z].

6 6 The Data (cont) Precedence relation of target consonants with respect to trigger: Directionality - (2) /žazira/ *žažira island The consonant harmony does not occur when the trigger and target occur in the reverse order. c.f. 1a. zuž ~ žuž Voicing - (3) /sbataš/ *šbatašseventeen The voiceless alveolar fricative [š] does not trigger the consonant harmony.

7 7 The Data (cont) (4)/l-sžen/ [s-sžen] the prison /l-šžen/ [š-šžen] *s-šžen the prison The consonant harmony can be seen across assimilated word-internal morpheme boundaries. However, this is in fact merely epiphenomenal of the consonant harmony process. The assimilation of the harmonized consonant does not reflect the actual consonant harmony moving across morpheme boundaries, but that the assimilation process occurs after the consonant harmony process.

8 8 The Data (cont) (5) Construct Phrases: No Consonant Harmony /ras ̣ r ̣ -r ̣ a ž el/*ra š r ̣ -r ̣ a ž elthe head of the man /ras ̣ ž - ž mel/ *ra š ž - ž melthe head of the camel /nas ž dad/*na š ž dadnew people These data demonstrate that this process is restricted to word- internal contexts. The construct phrases in (5) would be an ideal environment for the anterior alveolar consonants to harmonize, yet this is ungrammatical. This specific consonant harmony is prohibited at the phrasal level.

9 9 The Data (cont) The claim that the non-harmonized forms are more conservative comes from Classical Arabic data. (6) Moroccan ArabicClassical Arabic /želliž/~ /zelliž//zulayj/tiles /žaž/~ /zaž//zaaj/glass /žuž/ ~ /zuž//zawj/spouse /šerž//sarj/saddle The data in (6) give evidence that the forms in (1) containing two post-alveolar consonants are innovative and a result of some process in the language that has triggered the assimilation.

10 10 I. Interim Summary MA Consonant Harmony: 1c./ser ̣ žem/ ~/šer ̣ žem/window (2) /žazira/ *žažiraisland (3) /sbataš/ *šbatašseventeen No effect on/by intervening consonants Strictly Regressive Triggered only by [ž] Does not spread across phrase boundaries Innovative and conservative forms are grammatical synchronically Innovative forms are more frequent

11 11 Functional Explanation Hansson (2001) typologizes consonant harmony in terms of directionality. Regressive assimilation of the type found in Moroccan Arabic is classified by him as anticipatory harmony. He gives an explanation of consonant harmony as in the domain of speech planning with support from research on speech errors (Schwartz 1994, Dell 1997) and child language acquisition (Vihman 1978). Hansson further concludes that anticipatory harmony of sibilant coronals show a strong palatal bias, with evidence from other studies (Berg 1988, Bolozky 1978, Stemberger 1991).

12 12 OCP Effects in Language Processing Frisch (2004) OCP: Repeated place of articulation features are not allowed within a root. Evidence from psycholinguistics suggests that processing a sequence of similar items is more difficult than processing a sequence of dissimilar items. (7) Caesars seizures The two distinct segments /z/ and / ž / are highly similar introducing potential confusion in the linear ordering. Effect of a functional similarity avoidance constraint.

13 13 OCP Effects in Language Processing (cont) In many languages (not Standard Arabic) that have segmental OCP effects, identical segments are treated differently (i.e. allowed in a sequence) than highly similar segments. Harmony processes should share common properties with segmental OCP constraints MA OCP is showing tendencies that pattern in this way. Different from SA OCP Preference for identical consonants over highly similar ones – the CH reflects this.

14 14 II. Interim Summary MA Consonant Harmony: Can be explained as anticipatory speech/ perception error. Effect of a functional similarity avoidance constraint different from the SA OCP. Identical consonants are treated differently than highly similar ones. What is the problem? – Highly unusual for a Semitic language to display this process.

15 15 The Root and Template Model McCarthy (1981), Standard Arabic Consonants are represented as adjacent on a prosodic tier, separate from vowels. (8) a X X X X Xkatab write k t b Segments get linked to template positions through association line spreading from left to right.

16 16 The Root and Template Model (cont) Root-final identical consonants are underlyingly a single segment associated to two template positions. Co-occurrence restrictions (OCP-Place) constraint prohibits adjacent-identical consonants. McCarthy (1986) further argued that the OCP also actively affects the phonological derivation within the language (p. 208).

17 17 The Root and Template Model (cont) (9) a XXXXXsamam poison s m The distribution of consonants in Standard Arabic roots supports this model. Standard Arabic (Greenberg 1950): XYZ*XXY XYY*XYX This is also supported by Psycholinguistics studies (Coetzee)

18 18 OCP-Place in MA 1d. mzuwwež ~ mžuwwežmarried OCP-Place extended to make identical consonants allowed within a stem. Reflects pressure towards making the segments identical in as many features as possible. /z, s/ and /ž/ distinction within a single lexical item raises the likelihood of speech error. Making the segments identical in [+ distributive] feature allows them to become, following Frisch, transparent to segmental OCP constraints. In effect, the MA roots now have shapes previously not predicted by the Root and Template model: XYX, XXY.

19 19 Root and Template in MA The tier-based analysis of S. Arabic holds that spreading of association lines occurs progressively within the stem. However, the consonant harmony process is strictly regressive (c.f. 2). Further, it is restricted to root-internal boundaries. These two processes must be distinct, or at least on two independent levels of cognitive processing. In effect, the existence of stems with the form XYX is contradictory to the classic model of underlying Semitic roots.

20 20 Implications – Emergence of the Unmarked Finally, the data support the malleability of coronal consonants with respect to assimilation. Further, Hansson argued that regressive coronal sibilant palatal harmony is the most common variety. It can be argued that assimilation processes occurring only with coronal consonants represent an emergence of the unmarked phenomenon (Gnanadesikan 1995). In MA, if we take this to be evidence some larger trend, it is first reflected on the most unmarked segments in the language.

21 21 Implications - Variation The conservative and innovative forms alternate freely and synchronically. When asking native speakers about the distribution of these forms, they respond that there is no specific demographic, age group, or context that prefers either form. One exception is that the more innovative form is becoming the more frequent form. The conservative alternations most likely represent synchronic knowledge of or re-borrowings from Standard and/or Classical Arabic. Interestingly, even French-MA bilinguals, with no exposure to SA, have this alternation. Therefore, this is truly a learned alternation within MA.

22 22 Further Issues Problem: voicing? Why is /š/ not a trigger? Why does /s/ become /š/ not /ž/? Perceptual salience: changing an anterior coronal to a distributive coronal has less implications for perceptual salience than changing a voiceless consonant to a voiced consonant.

23 23 Further Issues French loanwords into MA can alternate with speakers who have little knowledge of French. (10) French: /šãžay/changer to change (11) Moroccan: /šãžay/ ~ /sãžay/ On analogy with the MA alternation, new words can be formed.

24 24 Conclusions Innovative consonant harmony process in Moroccan Arabic Precedence with respect to: Directionality -- target must be before trigger Root-internal contexts Similarity – similar features trigger harmony; identical consonants can be immune under an extended OCP-Place constraint Coronal consonants

25 25 Conclusions (cont) Functional explanation in the realm of speech errors and segmental OCP effects Different OCP in MA than in SA Prefers identical consonants over highly similar ones That this process can occur has implications for the UR of MA stems First seen in coronal and palatal place reflects TETU

26 26 THANK YOU! Questions, comments, suggestions:

27 27 Selected References Coetzee, Andries What it Means to be a Loser: Non-Optimal Candidates in Optimality Theory. Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Massachusetts, Amherst. (ROA # )ROA # Gnanadesikan. Amalia E Markedness and Faithfulness Constraints in Child Phonology. Ms. ROA. Frisch, Stefan Language Processing and segmental OCP effects. In Hayes, Kirchner, andSteriade (eds.), Phonetically-based phonology, Cambridge University Press. Hansson, Gunnar, O The Phonologization of Production Constraints: Evidence from Consonant Harmony. Papers from the 37th meeting of the Chicago Linguistic Society. Vol 1, eds. Andronis, Mary, Ball, Christopher, Elston, Heidi and Neuvel, Sylvian, pp Heath, Jeffrey Ablaut and Ambiguity: Phonology of a Moroccan Arabic Dialect. State University of New York Press: Albany. McCarthy, John A Prosodic Theory of Nonconcatenative Morphology. Linguistic Inquiry 12: McCarthy, John OCP Effects: Gemination and Antigemination. Linguistic Inquiry 17, 2: Rose, Sharon and Walker, Rachel Typology of Consonant Agreement as Correspondence. Language 80, Walker, Rachel Consonant Harmony and Feature Extension: Coronal Harmony in Kinyarwanda. Handout.

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